The Agent Makes the Difference... The brokerage is kind of like the fancy wrapper.

Real Estate Agent with john greene Realtor 475.137677

I made a bad financial decision in regard to my business last July when I changed brokerages. 

I thought that being affiliated with a local name brand brokerage would help me weather the tough real estate market, better than being affiliated with a different name brand brokerage quite a distance from my target market. 

I couldn't have been more wrong, and it was a very expensive mistake.

At my previous office, I was making a phenomenal commmission.  Trust me when I say it's almost too good to be true. I work from home so the distance from this office to my house wasn't an issue.  Escrow was directly deposited and all documents were either PDF'd or faxed to-and-from.  It was a great arrangement, but I just had to mess with a good thing.  Stupid... stupid... stupid!

I had often wondered if the 30 miles from the Elmwood Park IL office to my target market in Plainfield IL was costing me business, so I made a business decision to try to increase my local exposure by joining a local office in town.

This was an expensive and time consuming mistake just to find out one important thing:  It's the agent that makes the difference!

My market suffered huge losses as foreclosures, short sales, and REO properties over took the market.  The new office did not offer much more in the way of support and training than I had been receiving before, but my cost of doing business had increased by about 800% through fees, commission splits and the change over for my marketing.  I thought that a new level of productivity would compensate for these costs but sadly, it hasn't even come close.  I'm going back to my previous office next Wednesday, April 1st.

I have had to pave a new path in the market to remain active and profitable.  I have expanded my services to include the rental market and have gone back to doing short sales. When I realized that I am the one who dictates how busy and profitable I am, it made me realize that I deserved to keep more of the money that I earned.  My leads come from my referrals, my websites, my blogging, and my efforts.

I think that blogging and the Internet, in addition to tools like Active Rain, make it possible to rely less heavily on a traditional office setting.  If you think about it, your main place of business is probably located on 4 wheels and sitting in your very own driveway!

I thought it was important to remind the agents out there to consider what is important in this market:  Delivering great customer service to your peers, your clients, your customers, and your community.  If you continue to concentrate on this, the logo next to your name will seem less and less significant.

To the buyers and sellers out there: Remember, your agent is the one working to help you with your real estate needs, not the logo attached to their business card.  Real estate has changed over the last 5-10 years, make sure you are working with an agent who has kept up with the changes!



Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Jean Terry 03/23/2009 02:21 PM
  2. Yvette Gardner 03/24/2009 05:01 AM
The Art Of Marketing You
Agent Mom
Selling Soulfully
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julie ferenzi
plainfield il
changing offices
chosing a realtor

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Julie Ferenzi
john greene Realtor - Plainfield, IL
Julie Ferenzi

Geri, you have my permission, and I'm honored :o)

You are right... backward is sometimes the best direction! (I may have to use that sometime if you don't mind, lol.)

Mar 23, 2009 04:13 PM #65
Nicky Dou
Keller Williams Market Pro Realty - Fayetteville, AR
The BEST REAL ESTATE AGENT in Northwest Arkansas

I have been with multiple companies since I first got into Real Estate... All of the companies had great things to offer. It is hard to leave a company and do all of the switching but where you feel comfortable is probably the best choice. Even the compensation shouldn't be the #1 deciding factor... It is funny because although people think it could hurt them moving from company to company. I have never felt it hurt my business. Many of my clients probably don't know where I work today. I market myself.

An old Turkish expression for you:  "No matter how long a time, or how short a time, you have gone down the wrong road, Turn Back."

Looks like you did the right thing and turn back!!!

Best Wishes to you and to your family!

Mar 23, 2009 04:30 PM #66
San Mateo County Broker Associate Mayra Espinosa
Realty ONE Group Alliance| Call 650-996-8961 - San Mateo, CA
Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes San Mateo County


Hello Julie,

I know where you are coming from. I have moved a couple of time but finitely I am happy with the real estate company I work with. My manager is the best manager I have ever worked with. We are constantly in training to keep up with the current market and because of that, I have being involved in to the current market since the foreclosure market started a beginning of 2006.  I have done several short sales and have to negotiate with the banks. I have represented buyers with REO'S and I am helping several consumers with their loan modification free of charge as a service to my community.  We all needs to keep on learning because the market is changing. Thank you for sharing your blog it might help other to learn from your experience.

Mar 23, 2009 07:43 PM #68
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

The best real estate company is no real estate company.  Being my own broker was the solution for me.  I got absolutely no benefit from being with a broker, name brand or niche. 

Once a person generates all of their own business to a level of sufficiency, there is no reason to pay a dime to another broker, name brand or not.  Personally generated business has got to be the best business when one doesn't have to pay and pay to be affiliated with any brokerage.

That said, if I was going to affiliate with any name brand, it would probably be RE/MAX.



Mar 23, 2009 10:46 PM #69
Palm Coast Homes
100 Plus Realty LLC - Palm Coast, FL
Palm Coast/Flagler County Real Estate, The Ross/Co

Julie - thank you so much for this wonderful post.  My husband recently became a licensed Broker in CO.  He was having a hard decision on whether to set up shop on his own ar go with one of the already established companies in the area....yes, we do have most of the nationals here. I told him to go with his gut...he did and is now in the process with establishing his own Brokerage.  I am also currently working towards getting my CO Brokers License and have been trying to decide if I should hang with my husband or go out to another company...your post is timely and reinforcing my decision to keep my license with the hubby...thank you for sharing your story :)



Mar 24, 2009 02:50 AM #70
Donne Knudsen
Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA - Simi Valley, CA
CalState Realty Services

Julie - While I agree with your basic premise that it is the agent and not the brokerage that usually makes the difference in how successful the person is going to be, however, I don't see the brokerage as a fancy wrapper.  Perhaps it's because I'm not a Realtor and that this could be one of the differences between a real eastate brokerage and a mortgage brokerage.

I just recently made the change from a small, local broker to the large, national broker and so far, I have no regrets.  Quite the contrary, I wish I had done it sooner.  I labored long and hard over the decision and spent months researching numerous mortgage brokers and talking to all my mortgage friends as well as references of people who worked for the brokers that I was considering before I actually made the change.  For me, it was a case of being able to take my mortgage career to the next level.

For me, my broker isn't just a fancy wrapper but rather part of the foundation for my business.  For me, my broker has given me the tools to succeed and now it is up to me to take my business up and on.  In the mortgage industry, lending sources and lender relationships are a key component and vital tool to an LO's success.  If we don't have excellent relationships with those key lending sources, conducting business becomes much more challenging and quite honestly very stressful.

With a large national broker, I have access to the best lending sources in the industry and many of those relationships are very strong and long standing, which was something that was lacking with my previous broker.  Last but not least, I'm actually getting more bang for my buck by paying less fees and getting more services.  While I will miss the people I worked with for more than four years and the convenience of a local office, I feel that the benefit of serving my clients better will make up for what I lost.  I believe I made the right decision in changing and I have no regrets. 

Mar 24, 2009 03:14 AM #71
Lyn Sims and the Blog Dog
Streamwood, Elgin IL Real Estate - RE/MAX Suburban - Bartlett, IL

Sorry Julie, I have to disagree.  I just received a interesting study done that I will post soon about how people search for realtors.  Yes, one is you but there are other secondary features that buyers or sellers take into considerating and one is where you work - name brand or not.

Good luck in your return to your old brokerage!


Mar 24, 2009 06:00 AM #72
Chuck Marunde
Sequim & Port Angeles Real Estate - Sequim, WA
Sequim Real Estate Broker

Julie, I am delighted to read your post.  I have been preaching this same message for about two years in my neck of the woods, and all I get is nasty posts by one of my competitors who has spent a fortune trying to recruit agents like you and me to support their little empire.  You are dead right.  I have been asking clients for two decades what matters to them and how they choose an agent, and the brick and mortar and other public image advertising are NOT even on their list.  Clients want an agent who is knowledgeable, competent, and trustworthy.  Experience doesn't hurt either.  I've been building clients through my own blog at and I love it.  I insert this here so my colleagues can see what kind of blog is working, besides our AR blogs.  You've got to love this Internet and technology stuff that allows clients to connect with us, and allows us to increase our effectiveness and reach.  Goodbye traditional brokers, or so says the majority of clients.

Let's not forget, our own NAR told us over 80% of all home buyers start their search on the Internet.  Wow!  That's not a walk-in.

Oh, by the way, there's nothing like keeping 100% of my commissions and having extremely low overhead.  This alone tripled my net commissions.

Mar 24, 2009 06:32 AM #73
Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS, Broker
Phoenix Property Shoppe - Phoenix, AZ
Arizona's Top Banana of Real Estate!

Wow way to go Julie. Great post and great response.  As an owner/broker of a small company, formally with a huge company for years, I absolutley know it's the agent that will make or break his or her career. We are small group but we're like a family. We do business the old fashioned way. And I believe as the broker that it's part of my job to assist the agents in whatever they need and to keep the office relevant in the marketplace......whatver that looks like these days!

So if you every move to Phoenix............we'd love to have you join us!



Mar 24, 2009 07:16 AM #74
Christopher and Stephanie Somers - Realtors - Philadelphia Real Estate
Realtor / Owner - RE/MAX Access - Philadelphia, PA

What a great post !  Totally agree.  A strong agent will be successful in any office.  In general, the office will not create a strong agent although it can.  I agree that the office will provide ancillary benefits and should be considered on a case by case basis.

Mar 24, 2009 12:24 PM #75
Jim Gilbert

Julie, Great that you are finding your way back to a better home for your business. I actually left a name brand company in May of last year to go to a 3-year-old company (Sky Realty) where I was promised training on how to use the internet to build my business. The promise is still being fulfilled. My wife and I are very grateful for the changes we see taking place. We are also blessed withe good relationships within the office.

Jim Gilbert, Sky Realty/Heart of Austin Homes

Mar 24, 2009 01:32 PM #76
Marian Gregor-Ann
Keller Williams - Ann Arbor, MI
Arbor area Real Estate

Hey Julie, It seems that the grass is always greener, isn't it?

Mar 24, 2009 04:28 PM #77
Pacita Dimacali
Alain Pinel - Oakland, CA
Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA

Julie --- guess you're all the better for having made the move only to realize you should have stayed with your previous company. Glad you were able to rejoin them.

This further underlines the importance of having all your contact information directed to you, where you go. Having your own website, your own domain, your email that goes with you regardless of which brokerage you're with, your name riders, etc.

We have an agent who joined our company recently. When it came to her decision, she focused on the support, the technology, the marketing knowhow as the reasons why she switched. It was good that we like her and she likes us. So everything is groovy.

Mar 24, 2009 06:47 PM #78
Cynthia Tilghman, Realtor® Onslow County NC Home Specialist
Kingsbridge Realty, Inc - Hubert, NC

Hi Judi,
We learn and profit from our mistakes.  You don't forget lessons like this.

Mar 24, 2009 10:00 PM #79
Diane Aurit
LKN Realty, LLC - Mooresville, NC
Lake Norman Real Estate

Julie, I have learned so much by changing offices and even moving across the country.  When I first moved to NC I thought I should go with the largest locally owned independent.  After a year I realized I would be much better off so moved to RE/MAX.  As hard as it is to move, you are doing the right thing to move back to the right office for YOU!

Mar 25, 2009 10:45 AM #80
Kelsey Barklow
Evans & Evans Real Estate - Johnson City, TN
423/948-9154, Marne Drinnon 423/202-2277

I totally agree with you, Julie. When I do a listing presentation, I spend about 10 seconds on my company and the remainder of the time on more important topics like what I am going to do to help sell their home. Thanks for the post and I'm sorry you had to learn such an expensive lesson.

Mar 25, 2009 01:02 PM #81
Sonya Loose
Modern Realty - Beaverton, MI
The Lake Girl,Selling Waterfront in Gladwin County

Julie, I feel for you that your learning experience (sounds better than mistake) had to cost you money.  But, sometimes you have to lose something to see just how valuable it really was to you.  I wish you tons of luck going back!

Mar 26, 2009 03:07 AM #82
Mike Henderson
Your complete source for buying HUD homes - Littleton, CO
HUD Home Hub - 303-949-5848

I wholeheartedly agree.  Do what is best for you.

Mar 27, 2009 04:51 PM #83
Jerry Gray
Allen Tate Realtors - Winston-Salem, NC

Hi Julie,

Hang in there. Remember to give more than you receive. The client will seeit and reward you with business and referrals,

Jerry Gray/ Prudential Carolinas Realty/ Winston Salem, NC

Apr 01, 2009 12:40 AM #84
"The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW.
President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc. - Kissimmee, FL


Every mistake I have ever made in my life time has taught me something. Therefore, I have made no mistakes. I've simply enjoyed the school of hard knocks :)


Apr 01, 2009 04:46 AM #85
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